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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  March 11, 2011 1:00pm-2:00pm EST

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>> how did that happen? why was it -- >> i don't yet have all the details, jake, so i'm going to have to defer that question until we get more. obviously, the tragedy just happened a few hours ago. and there's going to be a lot of fact finding that we will have to determine. chip reiden? >> thank you, mr. president. i'd like to go at the libya thing in a slightly different way n. an interview with cbs news gadhafi's son saif said the plan is quote to squash the rebels with no mercy. if he quall foes through, can the united states simply stand by and do nothing? i say that in light of the fact in the past you have said there are times when a brutal government is massacring the citizens that the united states has a moral obligation to intervene militarily. >> i continue to believe that not only the united states but the international community has
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an obligation to do what it it can to prevent a repeat of something like what occurred in the balkans in the '90s. part of the situation is for us to have some sort of an alert system if you see defenseless civilians who were being massacred by gadhafi's forces. but obviously we are going to have to look at what develops on the ground on a case by case basis. i don't want to generalize right now and say that's what's happening and we're prepared to step in. it's going to require some judgment calls and those are difficult ones. but we have sent a clear warning to the gadhafi government that
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they will be held accountable, particularly when it comes to assaulting civilians. and some of the rhetoric that you have seen, for example, the idea that when gadhafi said that they'd be going door to door hunting for people who are participating in protests, you know, that implied a sort of lack of restraint and ruthlessness that i think raises our antenna. but as i said before, what i've got to do is make sure we're monitoring the situation and matching our actions with what we think will be helpful on the ground and also sustainable and we have got to do so in consultation with the international community. >> do you agree with your top intelligence official james clapper who said before congress yesterday that it is likely that gadhafi regime will prevail in the long run and did he err
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saying that in public? and if so, is this something he needs to be taken to the wood shed for? >> he was making a hard-headed assessment about military capability. and i don't think anybody disputes that gadhafi has more firepower than the opposition. he wasn't stating policy so let me be clear again about what our policy as determined by me, the president of the united states, is towards the situation there. i believe that gadhafi's on the wrong side of the history. i believe that the libyan people are anxious for freedom. and the removal of somebody who's suppressed them for decades now and we are going to be in contact with the opposition as well as in consultation with the international community to try to achieve the goal of mr. gadhafi being removed from power.
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zachary goldfort. >> thank you, mr. president. you talked about the option of tapping the strategic petroleum reserve k. you walk through which steps have to walk through before that and how much you would you want to release and can you talk about in addition to energy shocks what are the two or three threats to the economic recovery and what your administration is doing about it? >> the answer to your first question is, no. i will not go through the prices that would trigger the release of the strategic petroleum reserve but i can give you a sense of how historically it's been understood. the idea behind the strategic petroleum reserve is if there's a severe disruption in supply similar to what happened in the '70s, for example, when you had the opec making a decision not to sell for a while.
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how would our economy continue to function and making sure that we have got sufficient supplies for that. another example would be during hurricane katrina when you have a whole bunch of refineries that have been impacted and production in the gulf has been impacted. you know, that's another example where in a short term you can fill that hole. right now, what we're seeing is not a shortage of supply. refineries are actually operating at fairly full capacity at the home. the problem is a great deal of uncertainty in the oil markets. part of it prompted by the fact that the economy's growing faster in some places than others but you have got china and india and brazil and other emerging nations using more and more energy as their economies advance. we already saw that trend in 2008 because of the worldwide recession oil prices went back down but to some degree a lot of
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what's happening in prices is a consequence of economic growth. and countries and economies starting to use more oil. part of it, though, is also uncertainty in terms of the middle east. and so, one of the messages that i have wanted to send today is that we are confident about our ability to fill any potential gaps in supply. libya, for example, does not account for a large portion of overall world production. they provide a type of oil that is highly valued and there's a high premium on it but basically even if libyan oil production was suspended for a significant period of time because of the unrest there, we would be able to fill that gap. so, a lot of this has to do with uncertainty in the market and
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part of what i want to communicate to the market is that we're going to do what we need to do in consultation with both other producer nations as well as in consultation with our allies who also have reserves to make sure that oil supplies remain stable and that economic growth is going to continue. i do want to repeat the point that i have made, though, that, you know, look. the american people feel this pretty acutely. right? i mean, you know, we can talk all we want about world oil markets but they're concerned about oil out of the pock. some of the steps we have taken are making a difference but obviously if you're in a house that requires you to commute0 miles every day to your job, you know, you are not going to be able to sell your house
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immediately, particularly in this market and move closer. you may want to buy a full-efficient car but you may not be able to afford and you're stuck with the old clunker getting 8 or 10 miles a gallon and so -- and in fact, a lot of folks who are having the toughest time who are either unemployed or have low-wage jobs, they're the ones most severely affected because they're using a higher portion of the income just to fill up the gas tank so we're going to try to do everything we can to stabilize the market as i said to the extent we see any efforts to take advantage of these price spikes through price gouging, we'll go after that. if we see significant disruptions or, you know, shifts in the market that are so
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disconcerting to people that we think a strategic petroleum reserve release might be appropriate then we'll take that step and monitor very closely and obviously we have it teed up so this isn't a situation where it would take a big bureaucracy and several weeks for us to implement. this is something that would take several days. with respect to the overall economy, i think my assessment and the assessment of most economists is that although gas prices are hurting individuals right now, and obviously, taking some of that tax cut that we gave them and forcing them to use it on gas opposed to buying other items that in part because of the steps we took both democrats and republicans during the lame duck session that the economic growth continues in a positive trend. we saw that in the jobs report
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which in the private sector at least was better than expected. we've seen the unemployment rate drop a full point and so overall i'm positive about the fact that we're moving slowly but surely into positive job growth over the next several months. there are some areas we're still concerned about. housing is one i just mentioned. we got a lot of folks who because housing prices have fallen so steeply are still hurting. some of them are threatened with foreclosure, maybe because they lost a job. in some cases they want to sell their house so they can move to a new job and their house is underwater, essentially, their mortgage is higher than what the house would sell for right now. we have a number of steps to encourage loan modifications, to encourage banks to take steps
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that would aleleviate some of that burden and start clearing some of those homes on the market but it's a slow process. you know, it's a -- you're talking about $5 trillion worth of product out there, and i mentioned that i had, you know, this conversation with warren buffett a couple of weeks ago when i was giving him the medical of freedom and his point was, look, i'm bullish about this economy when it comes to the housing market it just takes sometime to work itself out because we had such a housing bubble. we had so much construction, particularly in certain states that are harder hit than others. that was then compounded by the overall recession and it's going to take some time for the housing market to improve but we are continuing to take a range of steps to try to strengthen that process of recovery. in the housing market. the last point i'll make on the
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economy overall relates back to the budget issues that we talked about. if you looked at the last jobs report, growth in the private sector very strong. 222,000 jobs created. where you lost jobs was in state and local government. and that means teachers being laid off, firefighters being laid off, plfrs being laid off. now, we were able to cushion some of that over the first two years of this recession through the recovery act and it made a huge difference all across the country but now states are continuing to cut local governments are continuing to cut. i think it's very important when we think about the budget to understand that our long-term debt and deficits are not caused by us having head start teachers in the classroom. our long-term debt and deficit are caused primarily by
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escalating health care costs in medicaid and medicare putting huge pressure on the overall budget and that's why i think it's important to have a conversation after we get the short-term budget done about how do we really tackle the problem in a comprehensive way? and that means not just going after head start or corporation for public broadcasting. that's not where the money is. what it means is that we have to make sure we're tackling defense spending, we are tackling tax expenditures and loopholes. that we're tackling entitlements. and that we're thinking about how do we, you know, really get our arms around those thing that is are driving the debt and deficit in a serious way and in a bipartisan way. i'll make this last question.
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hisham baroa. >> thank you, mr. president. >> yeah. why don't you gate microphone so we can hear you? >> thank you, mr. president. did you have contact with other leaders in the middle east and you praised them for reforms are you looking at other options in the leaders in the region to be supported to stay in power in the middle east? >> i'm in constant contact with leaders throughout the middle east, and i've had a fairly consistent message to all of them. number one, the united states believes in the right of peaceful protests and the ability of ordinary people to express their grievances to their government. and we opposed the use of
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violence in response to peaceful protest. the second message we have tried to send is that it is in the interest of the entire region to reform itself politically and economically so the talents of young people throughout that region can be tapped so that the young man, whether he is in sana or tripoli or she is in cairo or amman that they know that if they work hard, if they are getting an education that they have an opportunity to live a better life. that they can get a job that pays a good wage and supports their family and they can have the basic necessities of life
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and that they have personal security and freedom. each country is different, and so, the evolution, the process towards that vision is going to differ in each country. but my consistent message to leaders in the region is that, you know, this process of change can be a great opportunity for the middle east because if you can tap into the talents of those young people then you can start seeing the kind of economic growth in that region that you've started to see in other places in the world. and there's no reason why countries in the middle east shouldn't have the same kind of growth rates you are seeing in india and china. there's nothing inherent of the people in the countries to prevent that. what's preventing it is the fact that for many decades you've seen a lack of opening up that
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allows you to take advantage of the global economy. and i think that as i said each country's going to be different and it's going to ultimately be up to the people in those countries to determine the best forum for them to seize this opportunity but we should be on the side of those who want to seize this opportunity. okay? [ inaudible ] from japanese media because -- because, obviously, we are concerned about what's happening in japan. >> thank you, mr. president. i have two question. on the tragedy in japan. so you already touched on the issue in your opening statement but i'd like to ask about your personal feeling on the situation. you went to japan last year. now, tsunami hit coast of japan and waves washed away cars and houses and japanese people are devastated. i just want to ask about your
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personal thoughts and feelings on that. and secondly, you also touched on assistance from the united states to japan. and japanese government said that the japan asked for help from u.s. forces in japan. are you willing to provide those assistance? >> the answer to your second question is, yes. i told prime minister kan we'll provide whatever assistance they need. my understanding is the main assistance to provide them is lift capacity. the ability for us to i think help in the cleanup. obviously, when you have a tsunami like this, as well as an earthquake, you have huge disruptions both in the infrastructure. you have boats and houses and cars that are washed in to main
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thoroughfares and any assistance we can provide we will be providing. you know, i'm heartbroken by this tragedy. i think when you see what's happening in japan, you are reminded that for all of our differences and culture or language or religion, that ultimately, humanity is one. and when we face these kinds of natural disasters, whether it's in new zealand or haiti or japan, then you think about your own family. and you think how would you feel if you lost a loved one or if your entire life savings were gone because of the devastation. and the japanese people are such close friends of ours and i have such a close personal friendship
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and connection to the japanese people in part because i grew up in hawaii where i was very familiar with japanese culture that that just makes, you know, our concerns that much more acute. but i'm very confident, though, obviously, that the japanese people are so resourceful, japan is such a powerful economy, and such an advanced economy technologically that japan will successfully rebuild. and it has experienced dealing with natural disasters. it's dealt with them before. it will deal with them again and i'm sure japan will come back stronger than ever. hopefully with our help. all right? thanks, everybody. >> president obama saying he is heartbroken by the devastation in japan. spoken to japan's prime minister, been reassured there's no leak of radiation and now told there's a problem at one of
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the nuclear plants in japan. that the pressure is building to one and a half times what is normal and may have to do a controlled radiation leak. hillary clinton announced earlier today that the air force is sending coolant, basically water to keep the reactor cool. robert gates, the defense secretary, in brussels today announcing that all u.s. personnel are safe as far as we know in japan. we have a total of more than 85,000 u.s. military and civilian contractors, defense contractors, in japan and ships at sea. i'm joined now by chris matthews, obviously, a host of "hardball" and "the chris matthews show." we have joe and savannah guthrie, white house correspondent and jonathan capehart from "the washington post." first to you, chris, talking about what the president had to establish today, libya, japan, the no-fly zone questions, the
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leadership of the budget, what is he trying to accomplish today? >> usually presidents seek to increase the intensity of an issue, to jack up public interest and their own involvement. he seemed to want to pull back, lower the temperature with the role in libya, consulting. played up the financial seizures. the sanctions under way. the tightening of the noose, as he putt it. basically not suggesting we are going in there in terms of nino-fly zone but talking to the arab countries. i think he played down the fact we might be going in. it wasn't that convincing in the sense of terms of passion. he wasn't showing a lot of passionate support for the rebels over there. in a parallel way, not talking about the budget negotiations. he's there to protect certain issues, cares about pell grants, working class kids, head start for poor kids to get a good start in the grade school.
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55,000 teachers that lost their jobs if the cuts get through. r&d, infrastructure, education, of course. they were defensive positions. he wasn't talking with any thrust here about what he was going to do in the talks so in both cases, libya and the budget talks, pulling back his role, arm's length almost an academic approach. i'm not sure this is tactical. it's clearly tra steenlgic. we does not want to be tarred with any of these budget cuts, particularly. he wants to be the one to deal with them when they come and in terms of libya, all the words today added up to the fact hands off. we're not going in. >> in fact, savannah guthrie, you follow the president day in and day out and we're seeing here a very different foreign policy, the contrast could not be more profoud than what proceeded with george w. bush. this is pragmatism, not seizing on the idealism of the tro
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transformation of the middle east. he said he has to balance the benefits versus the risks sending personnel in harm's way. and the u.s. is not going to unilaterally take the lead here. >> yes. now we are seeing where the rubber meets the road in terms of the obama foreign policy doctrine. a multilaterallyism is the word of the way. we have heard it from his national security advisers behind the scenes and the president. whatever is done in libya it is clear the u.s. approach is to align with allies and not make it appear or be the u.s. acting unilaterally and where the criticism has come in against the administration is, all right, we understand why you don't want to make it a u.s. versus lib why dynamic, why you want to work with the organizations such as the arab league, nato or the u.n. but the u.s. can still be a leader. the u.s. can still say, all right, this is the path i think we should take. of course, the administration would say, that's exactly what
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we have done. it's probably the most stark rhetoric we have heard from the president in saying that they believe what they have done has slowly tightening the noose on gadhafi. that's a tougher language than what we have heard but the hard question for the administration is, okay, you have taken all of these actions. the sanctions, the travel bans, the freezing of the assets and if anything gadhafi seems in a better position than he was at the beginning of this about february 15th, seems stronger, taking back territory and doesn't show any signs of leaving. >> well, in fact, chuck todd at the white house who asked the key question today of the president, what if gadhafi is completely dug in there as the director of national intelligence james clapper, general clapper, was testifying to congress yesterday that right now gadhafi does have the assets and, chuck, you asked the president what are you prepared to do if, in fact, the analysis is gadhafi is gaining the
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advantage and not going to be pushed out? >> reporter: you know, i heard the tail end of savannah said and i -- it was interesting to hear a change in tone of the president but not really a change in any public pronouncements on what is acceptable, what the red line is. all of those things. the change in tone was, look, every option is on the table and almost if you want to try to read body language, a little bit of leaning into the fact that some sort of military intervention appears to be close to being inevitable. he brought up that the no-fly zone will be decided on tuesday in one way or another by nato, throwing that out there. that's clearly one possible step. also, talking about the meeting with secretary clinton that she's going to have. i know you're going to be covering in paris with the opposition. and of course, i'll be honest. i was trying to do yet another follow-up with him and i felt
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that was rude which was if these rebels ask for military assistance, we have seen reports they're asking, but if they ask secretary clinton for assistance, what does the united states say at that point? you do wonder is that going to be the trigger? right? is that going to be what the u.s. government, what this administration is waiting for? they want, hey, there's a -- they want it. okay. we're in. but they obviously need some over cover. not coming from the united nations. maybe it comes from nato, maybe from the rebels. >> well, the united nations, nato will not act without u.n. authorization and the u.n. is blocked by china and russia opposing any kind of stronger military actions but interestingly, chuck, this meeting in paris, sarkozy of france recognized the lerebels.
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>> reporter: andrea, me made a little bit of newses on the budget. he endorsed another two or three-week continuing resolution all but admitting which is different from what we have heard from harry reid, by the way, admitting no way to cut a final deal in the next week. they realize the clock is running against him and trying to get out in front of that inevitable news story which is probably coming this weekend. >> thanks to you, chuck. jonathan capehart joining us now from "the washington post." we heard the distinction, the white house trying to clean up a little bit of the disagreement yesterday between the head of national intelligence, his testimony and what we were hearing from the white house yesterday which was that that was was a one-dimensional analysis that gadhafi would preva prevail. now the president said today general clapper's testimony to congress was a hard-headed assessme assessment, not one dimensional and the policy is what the president decides it is and the
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policy is gadhafi won't prevail but he's not said what the united states is prepared to do, what the risks the united states is prepared to take to prevent gadhafi from prevailing. >> i pick'd up on that, as well, andrea. he did delineate a philosophical approach. gadhafi on the wrong side of the history. the people are anxious for freedom and he'll be in contact with the opposition and work with the international community to take the steps necessary to ensure that all of those things happen. but there were no specifics there. working with the international community means, you know, shuttling back and forth to the united nations, to brussels, you mentioned secretary clinton going to paris but nothing in there about specifically about a no-fly zone, specifically about ships and troops and other things, nato action. nothing specific like that. >> in fact, also, hillary
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clinton very, very clearly saying yesterday to congress that the no-fly zone is just -- carries too many risks unilaterally. we won't do anything on our own. chris matthews, interestingly last night former president clinton at the newsweek daily beast delineates a much more muscular policy and reflects his own background and felt regret we did not in the clinton years, the united states did not act more quickly on rwandrwanda, on koso kosovo. >> they did on somalia and it was a disaster. we have these road maps. omission and comission. pick your poison here. we all know that the arab world is very sensitive to intrusion by the west. the first casualty of a military involvement, no-fly or whatever, there will be casualties. we'll shoot aaa fire and hit
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anti-aircraft guns and possibly crashes. people will be killed and every single life that's lost blamed against us. we have been there. i understand why they want the cover of the -- i would think the arab league. not just nato but the arab league which they did give support for the first iraq war. that was a popular war for us. there is a template for going into the arab world when they ask you. that's the template. >> first gulf war egyptian, saudi -- >> chinese checkbook. japanese checkbook and german checkbook. >> jim baker said we made money on that war. >> that's the template. get them to welcome you into the region or run the very serious danger of being somehow involved in what looks like a civil war and we pick winners. >> japan in 1991 was a very different japan. japan now, deep in recession. a government in trouble. and now, joe, its nuclear power
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plant. japan relies 80% --. >> 30%. >> 80% imported and 30% nuclear. a power plant where we're told that the japanese government no radiation release but that there is a pressure build and asked for coolant. that's basically water. can you understand from what they have said publicly what is going on there? >> so imagine obama's job today as if all of this wasn't enough. you have a major natural disaster in japan that could turn into a technological disaster if they don't get control of this overheating nuclear reactor on the coast of japan. hit by the quake. it's about 200 mirls north of tokyo. and the problem is that the power went out. the power that drives the pumps that puts the water in to the reactor to cool it, it went out. the backup system went out and the backup systems failed. so now what you have is water turning into steam. it's not turned off but the rods
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are hot and turning the water into steam and not getting this under control the whole reactor vessel could explode. this is a possibly very serious situation. >> talking about a controlled release. we knew from three mile island there were uncontrolled and controlled releases. that's the most recent experience in 1979 but the fact is with these reactors you've got to get the coolant in there. it is water. >> purified water. >> but they have to deliver it and land some place. >> this is what's so strange about this situation right now. the secretary of state hillary clinton announced an hour ago that the u.s. was air lifting coolant to the reactor and you heard the president just say that air lift capacity is one thing for the japanese at this point and probably bringing water into the facility. we have never done anything like that. the u.s. military has never flown in emergency relief supplies to any reactor anywhere. that's an indication of how
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serious the situation is. as you noted the power company says it's one and a half times normal pressure. that's getting dangerous. >> one other thing to point out here is that japan has a historic relationship with the whole nuclear issue because of hiroshima and nagasaki. anything that borders on nuclear releases when it comes to japan is terrifying to japanese people. >> last major accident was in japan in 2007 at a facility about a thousand miles north of here resulted in the release of thousands of gallons of radioactive water. that was a scandal and could impact not just yap nees attitudes but global attitudes on nuclear power. if you have a wind turbine go down, no big deal. an accident at a coal factory, no big deal. an accident at a nuclear power plant, hundreds of thous of lives potentially in danger. that's why they have evacuated the area.
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two-mile radius around the plant is evacuated. ministry of defense forces, self-defense forces as they're called in japan moved into the area. this is a very, very delicate situation. we should know over the next couple of hours whether they're able to get it under control. >> joe, with that as a fact base to steve liesman who knows everything about the situation politically and economically in japan, you have a country that's been with negative growth and a government that has been dysfunctional. steve? >> it's maybe a break for the inflationary concerns globally in the first instance. the market seems to be taking this in stride as a little apology, andrea. talking about these things, economically, it's clinical and looking aside from the human disaster toll and we are not ignoring and try to look at it from a clinical point of view. japan is a global powerhouse that's been contracting and in general this should tend to increase the contraction of the
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economy. that's in the first instance. japan is also, though, not shown itself shy of government money to restart its economy so over time this could mean a massive japanese rebuilding effort. right now, though, as a lot of these things are, andrea, they tend to be huge in the headlines but the bottom line is we may not -- that the global recovery may be stronger and may be able to withstand what's happening now in japan. >> of course, the government back in 1989 with the kobe earthquake was severely tested. >> right. >> because of challenges it did not respond enough on the relief side of it so that eventually the construction that would come in the aftermath of a disaster of this proportion, that construction will fuel the economy, refuel the economy. but it is that interim step where you don't have political structures able to really respond to the needs of the people. >> that is initially contracted and absolutely right. if i could take another disaster
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as an example here. everybody thought katrina was a game changer as it took a major united states city offline for what was really several months and even as much as a year. that did not ultimately alter the course of the u.s. economy. there's a lot of stuff in play in japan. it's been in the mire of a deflation their cycle for almost 15 years now. some would say two decades and the issue becomes whether or not there's anything to happen that's going to turn that around. if you were banking on japan to turn it around -- turn around, you were going to be sorely tested here and this tsunami's not going to help that cause at all. >> steve liesman, i want to correct -- i was talking about an 8.9 earthquake but it was 1995 kobe and with thanks to steve liesman and joe and chris matthews, savannah goout uthrie we'll be back in a moment. [ male announcer ] this is lara.
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i'm thomas roberts. we have special coverage of the japan quake at 2:00 p.m. i'm going to talk to an american actor living in japan for about 20 years and tsunamis can move as fast as a jet plane. i'm talk to bill nye the science guy of how it spread from japan all the way to the west coast. and right now as we continue our continuing coverage right now, the tsunami warning for hawaii has been canceled but we still want to know what's happening in california so we go to san francisco and jeff vaneri. is there still a threat to the west coast of the united states? >> there is right now. we still remain under tsunami warning from the washington-oregon border all the way down to the santa barbara region. we have had some reports coming in. i'm sure you saw the video of santa cruz where boats are tossed around and then to the
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north in crescent city, there's evacuations in the low-lying city with history of tsunamis, a strong one in is 1960s. you can see the bay if you have been to san francisco all the stirred up even on a calm and sunny day and doesn't look too different than what you normally see and we're in a low tide event. through tonight, 5:30, high tide returns and this is an event to last for hours in some cases. the experts are saying. with these higher than normal wave periods. right here in the san francisco bay, we could be looking at wave heights at about two to four feet at this point. so it's something to be watching and this evening and here's the extraordinary thing to think about. the napa valley and wine country, to the north of san francisco, they are under a tsunami warning. many of you may be asking why? they're inland. it is not near the ocean. but we have had so many recent storms, the ground's saturated
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and some of the water could actually get pushed into the rivers and streams and give rise there, as well. so, everyone is taking this seriously here in earthquake country. san andreas fault 20 miles away. it could be a quake any day here just as powerful in the bay area. >> do the experts have any advance warning as they sometimes do, the geological survey and others, on what might be coming towards california in terms of any kind of seismic shots? >> well, you know, when it comes to taking a look at the quake maps and the shake maps here, throughout northern california, when it comes to earthquakes, there is a great probability by 2032 the usgs says we could have the great quake happening here. when and where, we just don't know. but as far as feeling the impacts of this tsunami across the california coastline, we've
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already seen abnormally high surf coming up along the coastline and reminded me of something else. we did get a report of somebody here in the city of san francisco watching the beaches. he said around 9:00 this morning there was a large evacuation of the water that left an open, exposed area of sand and no doubt at this point that there is something going on here today that can be attributed to the quake that could go down as the fifth strongest earthquake since 1900 that happened in japan. >> thank you so much, jeff, in san francisco. joi joining us now is kelly houston with california emergency management. what preparations are under way for the west coast particularly the area where jeff is and crescent city? >> so we have been under preparations since about last night around midnight. what we have been doing is making sure that we are making notifications to the counties up and down the coast of california because obviously notifying the
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public, we had a length of time, eight hours to tell people that they need to evacuate or listen to their local officials about what they want to do and then now that the waves have started coming onshore crescent city to the bay area, we are seeing what jeff described, not exactly what we predicted but we are seeing wave activity that's causing damage in crescent city and santa cruz. and here's the catcher to this and that is that people think that when the first wave or two hits it's over with and they can go back to normal but the reality is we have several waves coming in over 18-minute segments and that's going to happen for several hours and some of the waves on the way could be larger than what we saw already come on to the coast at this point. >> and kelly, noaa put out a graphic -- an animation to show what what a tsunami wave really looks like. can you describe the process here where the ocean floor moves and that displaces the water and
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then the water backs up and it begins moving? >> right. it's basically a slip fault or a strike slip that happens underwater and causes a wave to occur and push water away from it like you see in a bathtub or swimming pool and that's what hit areas of japan first. came across and hit some islands in hawaii and now have made it ashore in california but when's interesting is that as it spreads out it's not the same impact all along the coast. there's a greater impact. if you look at that modeling there's a little bit of redness that occurs up to the north part of the state which is in that crescent city area. impacts are varying depending on where you are in california and still happening. >> and briefly, we just heard jeff say that napa valley could be under a tsunami alert. being so far inland that is a bit shocking. what can you tell us about that? >> yeah. so basically those waterways
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connect into the bay area and when you push water up into the bay and basically like the tide coming in except much for extremely it pushes water into the small streams and tributaries that drain into the bay and it pushls it, backings it up and causing it to overflow the banks in some areas. nur a waterway affected by the tides of the bay and this is a situation that they have to pay attention to. >> kelly huston on a busy day with you, thanks for the latest. joining me now on the phone, nbc news producer in tokyo. my old friend and colleague, you experienced the earthquake firsthand. what floor were you on in your building and what did you experience? >> yeah. our office is located on a 27th floor in central tokyo. what happened was i was watching the parliament on tv, the diet session and there was a warning up on the screen saying that,
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you know, expect a large tremor. and about 30 seconds later our -- the lights in the office started to shake. at first, very slowly. sideways. and some of the tapes on my desk started to fall. it was hard to stand up. to keep your balance standing up. it was almost like you were standing on a boat going through a storm. >> arata, in a situation like that, i know there have been earthquakes before that you experienced in japan. what are you told to do? are you supposed to get under some sort of overhead beam? obviously, on a 27th floor you wouldn't head to the elevators. what is the rescue operation? >> well, what -- we had announcement come through the speakers in the building in our office. we were told to stay away from the windows because, obviously, if they shatter that's
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dangerous. and the most important thing probably is to be calm. as calm as you can. and figure out what is the safest course of action. stay away from falling objects and people were pretty calm on this floor. >> now, we heard earlier that telephone service was disrupted. obviously the subways. thousands of people resorting to walking through the street. bring us up to date now in tokyo where you are and what you're hearing from around the rest of the country. >> yeah. in tokyo, it was all of the transportation systems, the train system, the subway system was shut down until about midnight. some of the trains started to move, started to operate again around midnight and because, you know, all the people working in tokyo were stuck inside the city there was heavy traffic on the road. the road just outside of our office wasn't moving to the last, oh gosh, like eight hours. now it's cleared up.
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cars are starting to move. and some of the commuters, they might have been able to go home but i think a lot of them are still stuck in the city and probably spending a night in the city. >> we have also been told that the japanese prime minister to said there had been no radiation leak from the critical nuclear reactor that we're talking about along the coast. the officials have put out the word there is an increase in pressure, which can be potential lil dangerous and coolant is being brought in. the question from the u.s. military, raising concerns obvious questions about why they don't have the coolant available, whether they have power to pump that coolant in and whether they have to permit controlled radiation leaks from that reactor. >> there are two separate things happening at the reactor. one of the -- the coolant
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mechanism stopped because power wasn't being delivered to the plant. now they have a generator truck outside the plant so they think they can kick the coolant mechanism back in. separate from that, on another reactor in the same plant, apparently there's been rising pressure inside. what they're saying is that, in order to release some of the pressure, they might have to reless some radioactive material into the air. but the government is stressing it will be minimal and also because about 5,000 residents who live within the three kilometer radius of the plant have been evacuated, it should not affect them. >> our nbc bureau in tokyo, thank you for all of your reporting during this disaster. we look forward to all of your reports throughout the day and on nbc "nightly news" with brian williams. be safe. we will be back in a moment with more from the pentagon on what u.s. military options are
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welcome back. as we continue our coverage of the devastation in iran, after an 8.9 earthquake, we see new pictures, the tsunami that followed the earthquake, shocking pictures. relief is being delivered, or is being requested. the prime minister of japan talked to president obama today and relief will come from the u.s. military and for that, details, we come to jim miklaszewski, my colleague at the pentagon. mik, there are ships in the region, one in particular, close by. we've got thousands and thousands of u.s. troops and defense contractors, more than 80,000 total, we're told, positioned in japan. >> reporter: probably the most relief would come from some of the amphibious ready groups, helicopter carriers with 2,000 marines, plenty of helicopters,
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and like i said, a half dozen of those in the region that can start providing some relief, probably as early as tomorrow. along with the aircraft carrier "ronald reagan" which can provide airlift in and out of japan and a floating hospital. at the same time, the air force is ready to provide airlift and, in fact, also some civil engineers. but very quickly, there's some confusion whether the u.s. air force, as secretary clinton said, had delivered some coolant in an emergency airlift to one of the nuclear reactors. the air force say they can't find anybody in the air force who has done that. so we're going to pursue that and we'll keep you updated. >> we'll be clarifying. thank you so much. jim miklaszewski at the pentagon. our coverage will be continuing next. thomas roberts takes over with a look at what's next on "news nation." ♪
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